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Second quake hits northern Myanmar

Earthquake rocks north of Mandalay just hours after strong 6.8 magnitude quake kills 12 people and injures dozens more.
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2012 02:34
A bridge that was under construction across the Irrawaddy River in Shwebo collapsed, killing five people [AFP]

A 5.6 magnitude earthquake has struck Myanmar, hours after a stronger tremor killed at least 12 people and injured dozens more, the US Geological Survey says.

The USGS said the quake, early on early Monday morning, occurred at a depth of 9km, 135km north of the central city of Mandalay.

Hours earlier a strong earthquake struck the same region of northern Myanmar.

Scattered damage and injuries also were reported on Sunday in areas close to the quake's epicentre.

According to news reports, the most significant damage appeared to be the collapsing of bridge under construction across the Irrawaddy River in the town of Shwebo, the location of the quake's epicentre.

The website of Weekly Eleven magazine said five people were killed when the bridge, which was 80 per cent built, collapsed.

According to a witness, the huge concrete gate of a monastery collapsed and several sculptures from another pagoda were damaged in the town.

A series of strong aftershocks on Sunday added to the nervousness.

The shallow 6.8-magnitude quake hit around 116km north of Mandalay at a depth of just 10km, the USGS said. It initially put the magnitude of the quake at 7.0.

The were no immediate reports of casualties but building standards are generally poor in the country formerly known as Burma, one of Asia's most impoverished nations.

Yellow alert

The USGS issued a yellow alert, saying "some casualties and damage are possible" but that the impact should be relatively localised.

The quake hit at 7:42 am (0112 GMT) and was followed by two shallow 5.0-magnitude aftershocks within 20 minutes, according to the USGS.

 

It struck around 572km east of the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, one of the world's biggest cities.

The quake was felt in neighbouring Thailand, including in the capital Bangkok, according to reports on social media websites.

It comes little more than a week before US President Barack Obama is due in Myanmar on a historic visit.

Earthquakes are relatively common in Myanmar, which is emerging from decades of military rule under a new quasi-civilian government.

Kyaw Kyaw Lwin, an official at the National Earthquake Information Division in the Myanmar capital, Naypyidaw, said it was the strongest quake in the area since a 6.0-magnitude quake in 1991.

More than 70 people were killed in March 2011 when a powerful 6.8-magnitude quake struck Myanmar near the borders with Thailand and Laos, reducing homes and government buildings to rubble and affecting thousands of people.

Aid workers at the time praised Myanmar's regime for its speedy response to that quake, in contrast to the aftermath of previous disasters to strike the country under the old military junta.

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